The service – which consisted of sterile swabbing and the use of contact plates – was conducted to determine the level of cleanliness and microbiological contamination on surfaces across the clients’ trains and a number of stations. Both of these assessment methods were used to identify levels of bacteria, fungi, yeasts and moulds, as well as any traces of SARS –CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.
As part of the service, SOCOTEC swabbed high touch points on a number of trains during turnaround cleans, with tested surfaces including door handles, grab rails, tables, toilet flushes and driver’s cabs. Meanwhile, the microbial content of any surface deposits were assessed using species-specific agar contact plates, which were gently pressed against each surface for a total of 10 seconds.
The swabs were then analysed using Ribonucleic acid (RNA) testing, while the contact plates were examined and resultant colony growth counted after a period of incubation. Following analysis of the samples, no traces of COVID-19 had been detected upon any of the tested surfaces, each of which also presented low levels of bacteria, fungi, yeasts and moulds.
“We are delighted that SOCOTEC’s environmental swabbing service has received considerable uptake from clients since its initial launch in May 2020,” said Norman Sleeth, managing director, Environment & Safety, SOCOTEC UK. “This particular service saw teams at SOCOTEC’s Romford, Cirencester, Burton upon Trent and East Kilbride sites contribute to the testing programme, all of whom worked closely together to successfully meet the client’s requirements.
“We hope that SOCOTEC’s environmental swabbing service provides clients with the confidence and reassurance they need to maintain business operations and keep the country moving during the COVID-19 pandemic.”